reusable http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11059/all en-US 9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-cloth-towel-Dollarphotoclub_53885463.jpg" alt="woman cleaning cloth" title="woman cleaning cloth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself continually spending money on paper products for your household, then tossing them in the trash after just one use? What a waste! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of reusable, cloth options out there that can replace most of your paper mainstays, so consider swapping to save some dollars (and trees).</p> <h2>1. Reusable Paper Towels</h2> <p>My parents and in-laws always have their houses well stocked with rolls of paper towels. You, too, might find the habit hard to break. However, we've been a nearly paper-free house for years and use tea towels instead. If you'd rather make something specific, these <a href="http://www.mommypotamus.com/diy-unpaper-towels-without-a-sewing-machine/">DIY reusable paper towels</a> don't even require a sewing machine. Do some straight stitching, apply snaps, and get cleaning!</p> <h2>2. T-Shirt Rags</h2> <p>This one couldn't be easier. If you have a stash of old t-shirts that you plan to donate, consider cutting them up into rags for a variety of cleaning purposes. We have a whole bag of t-shirt rags that are great for dirty jobs like cleaning kitchen counters, wiping up spills, and even blowing our noses when we're sick. If you don't have t-shirts, you can buy these guys at your local hardware store in the paint section.</p> <h2>3. The Handkerchief</h2> <p>Speaking of tissues, back in the day if you needed to wipe your tears or blow your nose, you'd use a handkerchief. Now? We toss countless tissues into the trash. Of course, you can go out and buy a hanky, but you can also <a href="http://wastenotblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/the-simplest-diy-handkerchief-edition/">make a handkerchief</a>&nbsp;from simple squares of fabric.</p> <h2>4. Washcloths</h2> <p>They aren't just for soaping yourself in the shower. We use washcloths for heavier cleaning jobs because they scrub extremely well. A white set can be bleached and sanitized, too. Bonus: We have a few large ones that fit perfectly onto our Swiffer, and we have made cleaning our floors far less expensive this way.</p> <h2>5. Cloth Wipes</h2> <p>Yup. You guessed it: We did the whole cloth diapering thing with our daughter. Along the way, we decided to add cloth wipes to our routine, since they only required a toss in the wash. We were gifted our wipes, and there are many good brands out there, but making them out of <a href="http://lightgreenmothering.com/2013/11/24/diy-no-sew-cloth-baby-wipes/">squares of flannel fabric</a> couldn't be easier.</p> <h2>6. Napkins</h2> <p>Paper towels used to be our go-to for wiping hands after meals. We've since changed our ways with a stash of cloth napkins and tea towels. Handcrafted cloth napkins would make an awesome gift, too. This <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-sew-simple-cloth-dinner-napkins/pictures/index.html">handy napkin tutorial</a> shows you how to cut, iron, and stitch your way to success.</p> <h2>7. Toilet Paper</h2> <p>This one's a little adventurous, but I once saw the concept on that Extreme Cheapskates show. If you'd like to greatly reduce your paper consumption, consider <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-WASHABLE-TOILET-PAPER-from-old-bed-sheet/">cloth toilet paper</a>. The instructions note that these wipes should be used for urine only, since it's sterile. Hey, I'm providing all the options today!</p> <h2>8. Burp Cloths</h2> <p>We have a huge stock of burp cloths left from when our daughter was a baby. We stashed some away for a future child, but we use the rest for general cleaning purposes. Basically, if it wipes and otherwise soaks up messes &mdash; you can use it instead of its paper counterpart.</p> <h2>9. Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p>Then there are times when sickness spreads through the household, and all I want to do is wipe and toss. There's a no-paper solution: <a href="http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/homemade-homemaking-disinfectant-wipes.html">DIY disinfectant wipes</a>. Mix together some vinegar, water, and essential oils in an old wipes container. Drop in t-shirt rags and let soak before using.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheaper, greener alternatives?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-more-detergent-make-for-more-clean">Does More Detergent Make for More Clean?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning DIY recycle reusable Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1288488 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Frugal Ways to Go Green in 2013 http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-ways-to-go-green-in-2013 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-frugal-ways-to-go-green-in-2013" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3055499387_f035ec964f_z_0.jpg" alt="green" title="green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Contrary to what advertisers would have us believe, going green doesn&rsquo;t have to be complicated or expensive. If you&rsquo;d like to green-up your life in 2013, but don&rsquo;t have the budget for a hybrid car or wind turbine just yet, here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to still make an impact. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority">Why Recycling Is My&nbsp;Lowest Priority</a>)</p> <h2>1. Share</h2> <p>The most revolutionary thing we can do to lessen the demand for more stuff, reduce waste, and stretch our budgets, is the simplest and oldest solution of all &mdash; share.</p> <p>Sharing things like lawn equipment (does every homeowner on the block <em>really</em> need their own lawn mower?), DVDs, cookware, books, and tools can build stronger relationships, set a great example for kids, and keep our needs in check. Try it with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. It&rsquo;s easier than you think.</p> <h2>2. Repurpose What You Already Own</h2> <p>Be suspicious of any simplicity or green-living advice that requires you to purchase a new product.</p> <p>With few exceptions, hard-core green living means living (happily) with less and getting creative with what we already own. Stores are filled with reusable tote bags for every season, color-coded recycling containers, and aisles of gleaming energy-efficient products. But how green is it to toss out what we already own and restock our homes in the spirit of environmentalism? Before you buy, ask yourself, &ldquo;Is there any other way to achieve my goal without buying new? Is tossing out a perfectly good appliance truly helping the environment? How can I make what I need or re-imagine what I already own?&rdquo; Though it might not be nearly as sexy, reusing is usually smarter.</p> <h2>3. Redefine Convenience</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s no newsflash that convenience products in all their forms usually mean higher price tags, smaller portions, and more packaging. If you&rsquo;re serious about going green, skip the pre-packaged, single-serving, drive-thru world and embrace the stumbling, sometimes messy world of inconvenience. From hamburgers to paper products and from coffee to car washes, our drive to consume conveniently is playing havoc with our budgets and with our environment. Simple planning, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday">a bit of prep time</a>, and combining work with play can go a long way toward changing habits and making inconvenience far less&hellip;inconvenient.</p> <h2>4. Learn a Skill</h2> <p>Sometimes living green takes a bit of skill.</p> <p>Before it was fashionable or had a name, our grandparents and great-grandparents were green pioneers. They darned socks, made their own clothes, planted gardens, cooked from scratch, changed their own oil, and hunted and fished. Now, I know we live a much more complex world today, and I&rsquo;m not suggesting that everyone channel Thoreau and move to a one-room shack in the woods. But maybe there are a few things we can take better control of &mdash; and save a few bucks on in the process. Think about it. What <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">new household skill</a> would save you a bit of cash and reduce your need to buy new?</p> <h2>5. Buy Used</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ll let you in on a little secret. Every <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">thrift store shopper</a> is secretly delighted that most of the country turns its collective nose up at the idea of buying used. Why? Because it means more great stuff for us.</p> <p>Seriously, if you&rsquo;ve never ventured into a thrift store with an open mind, make 2013 the year that you try. Once you see the price difference between new and gently-used, you may never look back. Besides being budget-friendly, buying used helps the environment by giving a second life to cast-off items. Typically, the items you find in these stores are just as good as new (I&rsquo;m not exaggerating here) and, if you&rsquo;re up for some hunting, you can find amazing deals and a few treasures along the way. Try it. If you hate it, you can swing by Target on your way home and pretend it never happened.</p> <p>These are just some of the ways to be greener in 2013 and not break the bank (and your spirit) by buying a bunch of stuff. Going green should be less about addition and more about subtraction &mdash; what bad habits can we resolve to correct? How can we better manage our personal resources for the greater good? Once you begin to look closely, you&rsquo;ll see other ways to green your 2013. Happy New Year.</p> <p><em>What&rsquo;s your favorite green tip? Do any of your resolutions for 2013 involve living greener?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-ways-to-go-green-in-2013">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living convenience new year's resolutions reusable thrift stores Tue, 01 Jan 2013 11:24:30 +0000 Kentin Waits 961668 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3423196385_c5a3749023_z.jpg" alt="cereal" title="cereal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="155" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With five kids in my house, boxed cereal is a staple for breakfast &mdash; and, once in a while, even snacks. I&rsquo;d like to say that we use up every toasted flake of cereal in the most efficient manner, but this is not the case. Depending on the flavor of cereal, some of it goes stale before it can all be eaten. This usually happens with the &ldquo;healthier&rdquo; cereal varieties, but I&rsquo;ve found a few solutions to make sure every bit is used up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feelin-flakey-7-delicious-corn-flake-ideas">Feeling Flakey: 7 Delicious Corn&nbsp;Flake Ideas</a>)</p> <h3>1. Bread Crumb Substitute</h3> <p>Ranging in price from a dollar to a little over three dollars for six cups, breadcrumbs are something I try to never have to purchase. When I can&rsquo;t find any clearance bakery items to grind up, I switch to the less-sweet cereal varieties, which work just as well. Just grind them up in your food processor or crunch them up with a rolling pin, and you have the perfect ingredient for mixing into meatloaves or creating a perfect onion ring crust. (<a href="http://www.lillepunkin.com/2012/09/easy-ham-balls-recipe.html" target="_blank">Ham balls</a> are actually tastier with sweetened cereal like Frosted Flakes!)</p> <h3>2. Bird Food</h3> <p>Since we have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens">free-range chickens</a>, they are already enjoying some of our healthier scraps. Our flock also really enjoys generic Cheerios, cornflakes, and shredded wheat. You can help kids cover a pinecone with peanut butter, then roll it in a mixture of crushed, unsweetened cereal to create a yummy treat for backyard birds this winter!</p> <h3>3. Craft Supplies</h3> <p>Kids love stringing things, and small hands work well with larger pieces of thread and beads with bigger holes. If you are concerned about kids working with materials that may be a choking hazard, I recommend a generic Cheerio or Fruit Loop type cereal to thread the string through. While they are still not something I would advise a child under three to work with, if one or two fall on the floor and get into the hands of the younger sibling, they aren&rsquo;t as dangerous as a plastic or glass bead. Cereal can also be glued to cardboard and painted for free-form play.</p> <h3>4. Indoor Terrain</h3> <p>If you have a little boy in your home, you know how appealing dirt can be. Kids seem to want to run their fingers through dirt, push their toys into it, and pour it from cups into bowls. Stale cereal can be used in much the same way as dirt or sand, especially indoors, where you may want to use something with less of an &ldquo;ick&rdquo; factor.</p> <h3>5. Baking</h3> <p>There are a handful of recipes I&rsquo;m familiar with that get some of their deliciousness from the characteristics of dry cereal. Stale cereal has been used in everything from cookies to cakes with much success. Cereal that&rsquo;s high in fiber can be crushed finely to create a &ldquo;flour&rdquo; and substituted for a quarter of the regular white flour in most recipes. You may also want to try this <a href="http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/kitchen-basics/99560-garbage-cookie-recipe-aka-stale-cereal-cookies.html" target="_blank">garbage cookie recipe</a> I found at Frugal Village!</p> <h3>If You Don&rsquo;t Like Recycling Food, You Can Always Try to Revive It</h3> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/5943793/futureproof-your-pantry-with-easily-reviveable-and-repurposable-foods" target="_blank">Lifehacker tells us</a> that it&rsquo;s possible to give new life to chewy cereal by putting it in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 300 degrees. I&rsquo;m guessing putting it on a baking sheet in a single layer will do the trick, and while you&rsquo;re at it, you may want to consider using the cereal as a component in homemade<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-quick-homemade-breakfasts"> oven-baked granola</a>!</p> <p><em>Have you found a tasty way to bring old cereal back from the dead?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sandwiches-hearty-enough-for-dinner">10 Sandwiches Hearty Enough For Dinner</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living bread cereal reusable stale Wed, 19 Dec 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Linsey Knerl 959604 at http://www.wisebread.com Reusable Gift Wrapping: The Wrap That Keeps on Giving http://www.wisebread.com/reusable-gift-wrapping-the-wrap-that-keeps-on-giving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/reusable-gift-wrapping-the-wrap-that-keeps-on-giving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4978445919_3dda84d43f_z.jpg" alt="gift tins" title="gift tins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, what a wonderful time of the year! &lsquo;Tis the season of beautiful litter.</p> <p>According to the Environmental Protection Agency, holiday wrapping is responsible for a 25% spike in trash between Thanksgiving and New Year&rsquo;s Day.</p> <p>Oh, I know. You are really, <em>really</em> good about recycling. You&rsquo;d <em>never</em> throw all the used wrapping paper into the trash. In fact, your family laughs at you because you are so ding dang persnickety about removing all the sticky tape from the paper before you put it in the recycling bin. Well, guess what? That shiny finish on most wrapping papers makes it unrecyclable. Your annoying uncle who doesn&rsquo;t believe in global warming can now laugh at your naivety.</p> <p>Speaking of your annoying uncle, burning Christmas trash, his favorite method of holiday garbage disposal, is also terrible. While burning wrapping paper often results in magnificent colored flames in the fireplace, the inks and foils used to make gift-wrap contain a lot of chemicals that are toxic when burned. Roasting chestnuts over an open fire shouldn&rsquo;t involve lung or liver damage.</p> <p>The easiest way to reduce holiday trash is not to wrap your gifts. (Duh). Alas, this method of trash reduction isn&rsquo;t that fun, because most people get great enjoyment out of unwrapping gifts and watching others unwrap gifts.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are many reusable alternatives to gift wrap that are not only good for the planet, but can also save you money. Why pay for something that will only be used once and then becomes garbage? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas">10 Cheap,&nbsp;Handmade, and Green&nbsp;Wrapping Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Reusable Cloth&nbsp;Bags</h2> <p>Reusable cloth gift bags are a growing trend among frugal and green families. Instead of wrapping paper, gifts are packed into decorated cloth bags that are used year after year. Drawstring bags are probably one of the easiest projects for the home sewist to make. For non-sewers, there are plenty of reusable gift bags on the market for just about every price point and holiday. Just plunk the gift inside and tie the bag shut. (For extra credit, use shoelaces, hair accessories, bow ties, or luggage tags as reusable closures).</p> <p>Because I don't have the space to store seasonal decorations at my house, Dinky Manor, my reusable cloth gift bags are usually referred to as, <em>ahem</em>, &ldquo;pillow cases.&quot;</p> <h2>Furoshiki</h2> <p>If you can tie a necktie or make an origami crane, then you have the hand-eye coordination necessary to use <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furoshiki">furoshiki</a> instead of wrapping paper. Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloth scarves that can be folded into a variety of carrying cases to transport wares or decorate gifts. Furoshiki are commonly used to wrap bento (lunch) boxes, with the furoshiki doubling as napkins or tablecloths. There are tons of free instructional videos available online that show how to use small pieces of fabric to wrap everything from glass bottles to books for beautiful portability. &nbsp;</p> <p>By the way, if anyone wants to make me a present, I would love a furoshiki cloth printed with this extremely Japanese <a href="http://www.env.go.jp/en/focus/attach/060403-5.html">diagram of popular furoshiki folds</a> created by Japan&rsquo;s Ministry of the Environment. It's a gift that wraps itself!</p> <h2>Other Reusable Fabrics</h2> <p>As with furoshiki, a reusable wrapper can be the real gift. Consider wrapping small or breakable items in scarves, vintage linens, or even t-shirts. For example, you could roll sunscreen, guilty reading material, and maps into a beach towel (and tie with a luggage strap) to create a &ldquo;vacation gift package&rdquo; for your favorite honeymooners.</p> <h2>Tupperware</h2> <p>If you love holiday baking, forgo the dollar store disposable plasticware and buy reusable Tupperware containers that have a lifetime guarantee instead. Your friends and family will think of you every time they reuse the containers, long after the cookies are gone. If you are on a really tight budget, you can freecycle for interesting jars or metal tins instead.</p> <h2>Jars and Tins</h2> <p>I save pretty glass jars throughout the year. At Christmastime, I spray-paint over any ugly logos on the exterior of the jar lids and fill the freshly washed jars with colored gumballs that I buy in bulk. A handmade ribbon or a gift tag is all I need to turn recyclables into charming wrap. In addition to making cute and inexpensive stocking stuffers, the gumball jars are my go-to gift for postal workers, hairdressers, teachers, and anyone else who helps make my life better on a regular basis. And, if your jars or tins are cute enough, they will have a second (or third) life for the giftees.</p> <h2>Thrifted Casserole Dishes</h2> <p>Vintage Pyrex casserole dishes are easy to find at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-goodwill-the-different-types-of-thrift-stores">most thrift stores</a>. Put the dry ingredients of your favorite brownie mix into a Ziploc bag. Put the bag, along with the recipe card, into the Pyrex dish, and tie the lid down with kitchen twine.</p> <h2>Plant Pots</h2> <p>Clay pots are an excellent gift-in-a-gift for gardeners or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">new homeowners</a>. Simply put a small plant, flower bulbs, or packets of vegetable seeds inside a pot and use the saucer as a lid. Tie the saucer to the top of the clay pot with reusable garden twine.</p> <h2>Altoid Tins</h2> <p>Lastly, there are entire websites devoted to showing all the <a href="http://artofmanliness.com/2011/01/30/22-manly-ways-to-reuse-an-altoids-tin/ ">ways Altoid candy tins can be reused</a> and turned into everything from flame throwers to pinhole cameras. Buy new tins of Altoids for stocking stuffers, but also print out a miniature instruction book or put links to your favorite instructions onto a USB drive to show the giftees how to turn the tins, once empty, into aftermarket DIY toys of their choosing.</p> <p>Ta da! All the surprise, and none of the trash. Happy (green) holidays!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reusable-gift-wrapping-the-wrap-that-keeps-on-giving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Christmas gifts gift wrapping reusable Mon, 17 Dec 2012 11:24:30 +0000 Max Wong 958199 at http://www.wisebread.com Pour-Over Coffee: Better Than Brewed? http://www.wisebread.com/pour-over-coffee-better-than-brewed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pour-over-coffee-better-than-brewed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Chemex.jpg" alt="Chemex coffeemaker" title="Chemex coffeemaker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;ve never had a cup of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/magazine/13Food-t-000.html">pour-over coffee</a> before, you&rsquo;re missing out on a great cup. More meticulous than machine-drip coffee, brighter and cleaner than French press brew, and less dangerous than a stove-top percolator, pour-over coffee is often seen as purely the realm of coffee snobs and &ldquo;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_cupping">cuppers</a>&rdquo;. But that&rsquo;s a shame, because not only is pour-over coffee delicious, it&rsquo;s easier to make than you might initially realize. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simply-good-coffee-the-chemex-coffeemaker">Simply Good Coffee: The Chemex Coffee Maker</a>).</p> <p>Upon viewing the process of creating a perfect cup of pour-over coffee, your initial reaction might be something along the lines of &ldquo;Why bother? My regular old coffee maker can do this for me.&rdquo; While it&rsquo;s true that pour-over brewing is a bit more labor intensive than pressing the &ldquo;On&rdquo; button on your DeLonghi, the resulting coffee might just change how you view your morning Joe altogether.</p> <h2>How It Works</h2> <p>The idea is pretty straight-forward &mdash; grind your coffee beans, add coffee grounds to the (rinsed) paper cone inserted inside the pour-over container, and pour water carefully over top. The resulting coffee that collects in the carafe or coffee cup reservoir is bright, flavorful coffee that should highlight the best of the roast&rsquo;s flavor without any of the bitterness. Details such as how hot your heat your water, your water-to-coffee ratio, how much you rinse your filter, and your rate and style of pour are entirely up to you. Fortunately, the Internet is full of advice on the topic of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h-0ewcbHko">how to brew Chemex coffee</a>.</p> <p>If hand-pouring water over your coffee grounds seems arduous, take heed of some coffee-expert advice. Jesse Raub, author of the java-enthusiast website <a href="http://bitterpress.com/">Bitter Press</a>, tells us that &ldquo;regular drip coffee makers don't evenly wet the coffee grounds, which leaves your coffee unevenly extracted. Hand-pouring the water offers you an easy, controlled method for ensuring even distribution.&rdquo;</p> <h2>Cost Breakdown</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to argue against the elegant simplicity of the pour-over coffee maker itself. Among the most iconic modern pour-over brands are the <a href="http://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/">Chemex</a> (pronounced &ldquo;KEM-ex&rdquo;) and <a href="http://www.hario.jp/coffee/dripper.html">Hario</a>. Chemex is a favorite among pour-over enthusiasts and fans of simple design for its handmade simplicity; in fact, the Chemex is featured in a <a href="http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5225&amp;page_number=2&amp;template_id=1&amp;sort_order=1">MoMA collection</a> of objects designed by Peter Schlumbohm, a German innovator who was known for creating simple, usable products for the home. At approximately <a href="http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3765115">$35 for an 8-cup carafe</a>, the Chemex seems like a relative bargain compared to high-end coffee makers.</p> <p>Chemex paper filters cost $8.50 for 100, which a bit less than 10 cents per filter. If you&rsquo;re not a fan of paper filters, the current &ldquo;It Girl&rdquo; of pour-over accessories is the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Coava-Kone-Pourover-Filter/product-reviews/B004G7PTKE">Coava Kone</a>, a metal filter design to mimic the function of a paper filter, while allowing more aromatic oils to seep through during brewing. Reviewers have generally reported that the Kone produces less sediment than other metal filters. At $55, you can be forgiven for hesitating. But consider that you will never have to worry about running out of paper filters on a lazy weekend again, and the Coava Kone might seem like a relative bargain. And really when you add up the cost ($35 + $55 + shipping), you&rsquo;re still looking at about $100 for a coffee maker that should last a lifetime.</p> <p>The advantage of a pour-over coffee maker (instead of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/french-press-coffee">French press</a> or percolator) should be obvious &mdash; the Chemex and Hario are much easier to clean and don&rsquo;t involve nuts and bolts. The Coava Kone can be run through the dishwasher, although more fastidious owners prefer to hand-wash their entire coffee brewing apparatus. And wash it you must, because one of the side effects of an inexpertly cleaned coffee making apparatus is bitter, burnt-tasting coffee (the result of rancid oils that need to be scrubbed away after each use).</p> <h3>Pour-Over Coffee: Pros</h3> <ul> <li>Clean, minimalist design</li> <li>No moving parts to break</li> <li>Generally cheaper than electric coffee makers</li> <li>Easy to maintain, can be washed in dishwasher</li> <li>Greater control of coffee flavor outcomes</li> <li>No hot plate means your coffee doesn&rsquo;t continue to cook after brewing</li> </ul> <h3>Pour-Over Coffee: Cons</h3> <ul> <li>More work-intensive</li> <li>You officially become a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee">coffee snob</a></li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pour-over-coffee-better-than-brewed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simply-good-coffee-the-chemex-coffeemaker">Simply Good Coffee: The Chemex Coffeemaker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink brewing coffee Chemex coffeemaker cooking tools reusable Mon, 16 Jul 2012 09:48:09 +0000 Andrea Karim 939514 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3972748155_f3a255fb19_z.jpg" alt="water bottle" title="water bottle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Instead of buying container after container for commonly used items, buy one and use it over and over again by refilling it. Here are 10 refillable items that can save you money.</p> <h2>1. Water Bottles</h2> <p>This is a no brainer. Bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. Stop picking up a new bottle at the convenience store every time you&rsquo;re thirsty, and start packing a refillable bottle in your bag or leave one in your car. If you can&rsquo;t decide which water bottle is best for you, perhaps my post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">eco-friendly water bottles</a> will help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-reusable-water-bottles">25 Things to&nbsp;Do With&nbsp;Reusable Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h2>2. Lighters</h2> <p>OK, so you may not use a lighter on a regular basis &mdash; unless you&rsquo;re a smoker &mdash; but it&rsquo;s still cost efficient to buy a refillable lighter instead of a disposable one, even if you&rsquo;re just keeping them around the house for emergencies. Bic makes refillable lighters, but I personally recommend Zippos because of the cap that keeps the wick dry and protected. Zippos are also much easier to light, and the flame is easier to maintain than plastic lighter, too.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. K-Cups</h2> <p>After years of stocking my guest bedroom with disposable K-Cups, I finally broke down and bought two refillable K-Cups from Groupon recently. I paid $16 for the pair, and I picked up a pound of coffee at Home Goods for $6. Those initial investments alone saved me about $10 off the price I would normally pay for a box of 48 disposable K-Cups. I expect that a pound of coffee will produce a similar amount of single cups of coffee. Next time I&rsquo;ll save even more money because I&rsquo;ll only have to buy the $6 coffee.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Printer Cartridges</h2> <p>Anyone with a home office knows that one of the most expensive items to keep it up and running is printer ink. The cartridges I use cost about $35 brand new for the black and colored ink bundle. Instead of buying them new every time, however, I have them refilled for about $13 each. Each time I have them refilled, I save about $9 &mdash; and then I treat myself to lunch for being such a wise guy.</p> <h2>5. Pens</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity">Ink pens</a> aren&rsquo;t terribly expensive individually, but if you&rsquo;re constantly buying new pens, the cost can add up. A pack of 12 disposable pens can run anywhere from $4 to $20, while refillable pens cost in the area of $28. A two-pack of refills for the latter is between $2 and $4. If you use a lot of ink, it&rsquo;s a wiser investment (for your wallet and the planet) to pick up the refillable kind. Or you just do what I do, and get your pens for free by taking them from wherever they&rsquo;re handing them out.</p> <h2>6. Mechanical Pencils</h2> <p>Does anyone use pencils anymore? I suppose kids do, but I haven&rsquo;t picked up a pencil in years. A pack of 12 store-brand disposable pencils from Office Depot cost $1.49, while a Paper Mate Mega Lead mechanical pencil costs $3.24 and comes with 12 lead refills. Separately, the refills are only $2.29 for a pack of 36 leads. The numbers speak for themselves.</p> <h2>7. Soap Dispenser</h2> <p>Instead of buying a new, pre-filled soap dispenser from Target every time the ones in my bathroom or kitchen run out (which is often &mdash; I wash my hands A LOT), I buy a single dispenser and purchase a gallon jug of hand soap at BJ&rsquo;s that I use to fill the dispensers when they&rsquo;re empty. One jug lasts me for the better part of a year.</p> <h2>8. Prescriptions</h2> <p>I learned a new trick recently while researching information for another article &mdash; when you ask your doctor for a prescription, have him prescribe pills that contain double the dose of your medication. The prescription will cost the same as the single dose pills (or close to it), but when you get home you can split the pills in half so they last twice as long. Fewer trips to the pharmacy and more money in my pocket is music to my ears.</p> <h2>9. Travel Mugs</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re a Starbucks junky without a travel mug, your carbon footprint is through the roof. So. Many. Wasted. Cups. Tread a little lighter with a reusable, refillable travel mug. <a href="http://www.keepcup.com/">KeepCups</a> are my favorite. Plus, to make each day even brighter, Starbucks will discount your morning Joe for doing your part to save the planet. Win-win.</p> <h2>10. Gift Cards</h2> <p>Nobody is refilling their own gift cards &mdash; when mine is empty, I simply recycle the plastic &mdash; but refillable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-gift-cards-5-reasons-gift-cards-make-perfect-holiday-gifts">gift cards are a great idea for parents</a>. Parents can give their kids the cards &mdash; for iTunes, their favorite clothing store, or the local cinema &mdash; in lieu of cash or credit cards. Refillable gift cards can also be used as a rewards or incentive program at home; when the kid does something helpful, you can surprise him or her with a deposit on the card.</p> <p><i>Do you have other refillable items to suggest that will help us save money? Let me know in the comments below.</i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/soy-milk-tofu-and-veggie-burgers-for-pennies-anyone">Soy Milk, Tofu, and Veggie Burgers for pennies, anyone?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-veggies-to-plant-this-spring">10 Easy Veggies to Plant This Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trade-versus-localization">Trade versus localization</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living Lifestyle coffee pens prescriptions reusable soap water bottles Mon, 18 Jun 2012 10:24:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 935138 at http://www.wisebread.com When to Buy Disposable http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-buy-disposable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-to-buy-disposable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2253484235_ebf7986b79_z.jpg" alt="paper bag" title="paper bag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a question I struggle with &mdash; when should I buy disposable, and when should I buy stuff made to last?</p> <p>My first impulse is always to to buy stuff made to last. That hits the right note in at least two ways. Over the long term, it ought to be cheaper, plus it ought to produce less impact on the environment, by using less resources and by taking up less landfill space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fix-energy-in-tangible-form">Fix Energy in Tangible Form</a>)</p> <p>Reality is more complex.</p> <h2>A Story About&nbsp;Reusable Bags</h2> <p>For a summer in in the late 1970s, I worked as a day camp counselor. That was when everything was being made disposable &mdash; and reacting against it was very trendy. At the day camp, kids and counselors were strongly encouraged to bring their lunches in reusable containers. (The kids got tokens as a reward for good behavior. We got our pay docked if we showed up with our stuff in brown paper bags, or if we used <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">disposable plastic bags</a> to hold individual items.)</p> <p>Now, I understood that actual environmental impacts were only a secondary consideration. The main goal was to get the kids to think about issues like resource usage and landfill space. But containers for sack lunches seemed like an odd place to make a stand.</p> <p>To my way of thinking, those brown paper bags after which the brown-bag lunch is named are a pretty sound choice both financially and ecologically. The resources required to make them are modest and largely renewable, they take up minimal space in a landfill, and they are biodegradable. That's pretty serious competition for the alternative &mdash; a reusable lunch box of some sort.</p> <p>Consider a few of the possibilities. The sort of steel lunch box that workmen used to carry would require vastly more resources to construct, starting with mining iron ore. Of course, a steel lunch box might last for decades, but it would probably <em>take</em> decades before you'd have used as much energy making brown paper bags as you'd have spent smelting and then rolling the steel to make the lunch box.</p> <p>Almost certainly worse were the cardboard-and-vinyl lunch boxes that most of the kids actually used. They were reusable, but generally only lasted a year before the vinyl cracked at the hinge points. (And they would be printed with a graphic that was dreadfully out-of-date a year later, and in any case inappropriate for a kid a year older.) The vinyl was a non-renewable resource, which was probably never recycled in practice (because of the effort needed to separate it from the cardboard). It wouldn't take as much energy to make as a steel lunch box, but enough to make many brown paper bags &mdash; probably more than the 180 paper bags that would be the break-even point, given the expected lifespan of one year.</p> <p>I ended up using a nylon draw-string bag that I'd gotten for organizing small items in my backpack when I went camping. It was about the same size as a brown paper bag, was reusable, and served my purpose well. Of course, it was also made out of non-renewable resources, but it probably didn't require nearly as much energy as making a steel lunch box.</p> <p>As an aside, much later I won (in a raffle) a fancy lunch container that was a big stainless steel thermos bottle, designed with stackable containers that you could pack with hot food in the morning so you would still have hot food at lunch time. I still have it and use it occasionally when I'm having that sort of lunch, but I'm rather doubtful that I'll ever use it enough times to justify the resources that must have gone into making it.</p> <h2>The Limits of Analysis</h2> <p>Part of my point here is that this sort of question is hard to answer analytically. What is the environmental impact of cutting down a forest versus operating iron and coal mines? Are the chemicals released into the water when making paper worse than those released into the air when smelting iron? How does a petrochemical plant compare to a steel foundry? And, of course, there's the issue of the unknowable future. What if you only use the steel lunch box for a year, and then start eating at the cafeteria? What if treating your vinyl lunch box with great gentleness makes it last three years?</p> <p>The financial questions are a little more tractable, if only because you actually know the prices of the alternatives. If a steel lunch box costs $12 and a brown paper bag costs 2.5 cents, then the steel lunch box wins if it lasts at least 480 lunches &mdash; less than three years of school; less than two years of work. (Properly speaking, you'd want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-low-interest-rates-might-save-the-world">discount the initial investment</a> to account for the fact that you've lost the use of the whole $12 up front. But if the potential investment return is roughly equal to the inflation rate on brown paper bags, the simple calculation is close enough.) But even the financial questions founder on the unknowable future. What if you lose your lunch box? What if a bully pitches it under the wheels of a school bus? What if the actor depicted on the front gets involved in a scandal?</p> <p>Without the ability to determine the answer analytically, we're inevitably reduced to answering such questions intuitively. To aid that, I've come up with a new rule of thumb:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Buy to last </strong>when most of the cost is for <em>materials</em> &mdash; because that's what's inevitably going to cost more in the future.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Buy disposable</strong> when most of the cost is for <em>non-materials</em> (the brand or the technology or the &quot;intellectual property&quot; embedded in the item) &mdash; because these sorts of non-materials will go on getting cheaper in the future.</li> </ul> <p>You can really see this rule at play in items where there's an intellectual property premium added to a durable item. A metal lunch box printed with characters from a canceled TV show can probably be had almost for free at a salvage store or a garage sale (until the series has been canceled long enough that the item starts having some retro appeal).</p> <p>If you have the data and the inclination to analyze the financial and environmental costs of the various alternatives, that's a worthy effort, especially for a major purchase such as a car. But for smaller purchases, and ones where the data to produce an analytical solution are hard to come by, this rule of thumb is a useful guide.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-buy-disposable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-true-source-of-wealth-creation-that-you-probably-already-have">The Surprising True Source of Wealth Creation (That You Probably Already Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-savings-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Savings Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living disposable lunch box reusable Wed, 09 May 2012 10:24:10 +0000 Philip Brewer 928765 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Reuse a Comforter Bag http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reuse-a-comforter-bag <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-reuse-a-comforter-bag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2147117299_2730c72376_b.jpg" alt="boy and comforter" title="boy and comforter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you recently bought a new comforter for your bed or have the plastic casing bed-wear usually comes in, don&rsquo;t throw it out.&nbsp;Comforter bags are great because they typically have zipper access and are made of durable plastic. Some even come with convenient handles. Here are eight ways to get the most out of a recycled comforter bag. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-notturning-waste-into-savings">Waste Not, Want Not: Turning Waste Into Savings</a>)</p> <h2>1. Donation Bag</h2> <p>I have placed an old comforter bag in each of my kids' rooms. Whenever they put on clothing and find it no longer fits comfortably, the kids know to refold the item and put it in the storage bag. This is a great, proactive way for us to avoid having to sort through all of their clothing drawers and closets every few months. When the bag is filled, we zip it up and give it to a family friend for future use. The clear bag makes it easy for them to see the variety of items so they can pull out what they need without a hassle. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-you-might-not-know-about-your-local-thrift-store">Thrift stores</a> also appreciate the see-through bag when accepting donations.</p> <h2>2. Winter-Wear Storage</h2> <p>Snowsuits, boots, gloves, hats, and scarves can be stored in the plastic zippered bag, so they are easily located for next winter. Let kids decorate their own bags as an afternoon craft activity. Foam stickers can brighten up a plain plastic bag and give the kids something to do while you spring clean. The plastic bags will also keep dust and moths from attacking your winter gear.</p> <h2>3. Extra Sheet Storage</h2> <p>If you lack closet space and have no room for linens, employ a comforter bag as a storage center for extra sheets and pillow cases. You can fit a lot of sheet sets in one bag, and you&rsquo;ll protect the sheets from dirt until you need to use them again. As an added benefit, toss in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-things-to-do-with-used-dryer-sheets">used fabric softener sheet</a> so you will always have nice, clean, fresh-smelling sheets ready for use.</p> <h2>4. Portable Toy Bag</h2> <p>Kids tend to have a lot of toys that live everywhere but the toy box. You can utilize the giant zippered bags to keep toys organized. The bag allows kids to transport their trucks, dolls, and stuffed animals wherever they want to play. The portable toy bag is also a great way to travel with toys. Kids can easily see what&rsquo;s in the bag and perhaps resist the urge to dig everything out of the bag and spread it all over the back of your minivan.</p> <h2>5. Gardening Tool Storage</h2> <p>Gardening tools can rust if left out in the elements, but you can use a comforter bag for storage and protection from the rain and other seasonal elements. The bag also makes it easier for you to lug everything around the garden, and it can be quickly rinsed out with the hose when it gets too dirty.</p> <h2>6. Cleaning Catchall</h2> <p>Again, due to the ability to see through the clear plastic, a comfortable bag is useful as a catchall in your living space. Clutter that traditionally lies around your house can be tossed in the bag until it can be sorted later. Your family members can easily see what&rsquo;s inside when they are looking for something specific and can grab their own items when it&rsquo;s time to put things back in their rightful places.</p> <h2>7. Luggage</h2> <p>While it is hardly a fashion statement, the large plastic zippered bag can work well as last-minute luggage for your next road trip. Your family is likely to forget a lot of stuff on the way out the door, so you can utilize the bag as a last-minute catchall for travel. On the return trip, be sure to pack your dirty laundry in the bag so you can put it in the laundry room as soon as you get back and not have to sort through suitcases trying to figure out what is clean and what isn&rsquo;t.</p> <h2>8. Shoe Storage</h2> <p>If shoes tend to clutter your home or your closet, consider using the bag as a shoe storage place. You can throw in your flip flops, sneakers, and other casual shoes to make room for the pricier dress shoes that need more tender loving care. The bag makes it easy to collect your shoes in one place if you are short on room.</p> <p>There are probably tons more ideas you can think up for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">recycling household items</a> that would otherwise go in the trash bin. While you may only buy a new comforter from time to time, you can start asking friends and family to save theirs for you and gather a whole collection of free bags for your storage needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reuse-a-comforter-bag">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners">Breathe Easy: 10 Natural Air Fresheners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks">Home Exchanges: Free Accommodations With Perks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-essential-tricks-for-quick-and-easy-cleaning">25 Essential Tricks for Quick and Easy Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">7 Steps to Market Your Extra Space as a Vacation Rental</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Travel children cleaning tips donations reusable Tue, 17 Apr 2012 09:36:24 +0000 Tisha Tolar 916316 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tide_bottle.jpg" alt="Crafting with Tide bottle" title="Crafting with Tide bottle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let&rsquo;s talk about detergent bottles. Wonderful, adaptable detergent bottles.</p> <p>Most people have one use for them &mdash; to hold laundry detergent. But if you look at the design of modern detergent bottles, they clearly have a life beyond the last drop of liquid goodness inside. All it takes is a little imagination.</p> <p>In my previous post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">reusing disposable items</a>, I briefly touched on the detergent bottle. And in doing so, I uncovered a multitude of uses for this versatile bottle that is usually trashed or recycled the second it runs dry.</p> <p>A quick tip before we get to the list &mdash; the design of detergent bottles is quite unfriendly for the consumer. If you use them as directed, you&rsquo;ll be left with at least one or two extra loads in the bottle even though nothing is pouring out. There are ways to get to it, but in doing so you may have to render the bottle almost useless. However, depending on your <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Get-that-last-load-from-a-bottle-of-detergent%21/">method of extracting the precious liquid,</a> you could still be left with a very useful hunk of plastic. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sharps (Needles) Disposer</h2> <p>According to Diabetes.org, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf">over 8% of the US population is diabetic</a> (PDF). That&rsquo;s quite the statistic. A vast majority of those people require regular shots of insulin, and those needles, or sharps, must be disposed of safely. They sell sharps containers in the stores, and they run anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred dollars for a two-gallon size. But why bother spending any money? Take an empty detergent bottle, secure the lid to the base with strong tape, and cut a small slot in the top. You now have a safe place to keep your sharps. When it&rsquo;s full, seal the slot and <a href="http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/sw/documents/sw-31.pdf">dispose of it safely</a> (PDF).</p> <h2>2. Ice Melt Shaker</h2> <p>I used to keep my ice melt in an old cat litter container and used a scoop to sprinkle it on walkways and driveways. The laundry detergent bottle is even easier. Just fill one with ice melt and then do one of two things:</p> <ul> <li>Remove the lid and sprinkle liberally, or&hellip;</li> <li>Poke large holes in the lid and sprinkle, like a giant salt cellar</li> </ul> <p>Either way works; it just depends how much ice you have and how much you want to put down on the floor.</p> <h2>3. Drip Irrigation</h2> <p>Clean your detergent bottle and fill to the top with water. Place it in the top of your plant pot, or next to plants in the garden, and punch a few very small holes in the bottom (plus one in the top if you want the water to flow more freely).</p> <p>You now have a simple but effective tool for providing plants with a slow and steady source of water. This is very helpful if you&rsquo;re going on vacation and don&rsquo;t want your plants to perish in your absence. It&rsquo;s also good if you simply want to remove a daily task from your agenda. Now, watering the plants can be done automatically; all you need to do is fill up the container when it&rsquo;s empty.</p> <h2>4. A Lampshade</h2> <p>Seriously. There are plenty of <a href="http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&amp;hl=en&amp;source=hp&amp;biw=1680&amp;bih=906&amp;q=detergent+bottle+lamp&amp;gbv=2&amp;oq=detergent+bottle+lamp&amp;aq=f&amp;aqi=g-S1&amp;aql=&amp;gs_l=img.3..0i24.1594l5202l0l5540l21l21l0l6l6l0l135l1405l7j8l15l0.frgbld.">pictures of detergent-bottle lamps</a> demonstrating the various methods available to you for construction. Some simply require you to thoroughly wash your bottle, which includes removing the label, and then attaching to a lamp fitting. Others are much more elaborate. The lamps are unique, and if done right can look like art with a high dollar value.</p> <h2>5. Toddler Tool Box</h2> <p>I saw this one at a friend&rsquo;s house, and he sent me the link to the original <a href="http://www.erutledge.net/album2008/2008-01-08/slides/100_0462.html">toddler tool box</a> creator. If you have one of those huge detergent bottles and also have young kids, don&rsquo;t throw it away. Follow these instructions to create a fun (and free) toolbox that your young one can carry all of his or her valuables, cars, dolls, or anything else in. And the grown-ups can use it too.</p> <h2>6. Watering Can</h2> <p>Hot on the heels of the ice melt shaker, you can also use your old detergent bottles as watering cans. The small ones are great for the younger kids, and the big ones work almost as well as the pricey ones from the hardware stores. Just wash your bottle thoroughly, then poke many small holes (a metal skewer is good for this) in the lid. Fill with water, tighten the lid, and you have a great watering can for nothing.</p> <h2>7. A Handy Scoop or Funnel</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t pay for a scoop again. Just cut your clean detergent bottle diagonally across the middle, and you have a sturdy scoop that can be used for all sorts of things. Make one for the cat litter, one for fertilizer, and even use one of the larger ones as a dustpan. You can also use a straight cut across the middle to create a funnel, which can be handy for pouring paint into smaller containers. &nbsp;</p> <h2>8. Free Weights</h2> <p>Literally. The first set of weights I ever bought were light as a feather. When you took them home, you would fill them with sand and they became heavy enough to use in a workout. The same principle applies here. Fill your different sized detergent bottles with sand and you will have weights of varying sizes, which can be used like a kettle bell for strength training. &nbsp;</p> <h2>9. Paint Storage</h2> <p>Paint cans are annoying. They have to be hammered shut, opened with a special tool or screwdriver, and the paint always drips down them. If you don&rsquo;t get the lid on tight enough, you will be greeted with a can of thick or dried out paint when you next use it. Even a small amount of water loss from the can change the color and consistency. So, when you&rsquo;ve got paint left in a can from a decorating job, pour it into a detergent bottle and screw the lid on tight. When you next come to decorate, you&rsquo;ll have fresh, easily pourable paint with no drips. Make sure you put a little of the paint on the outside of the bottle to recognize it on the shelf.</p> <h2>10. A New Spin on Sandbags</h2> <p>A few people in my neighborhood have basketball hoops, and they weight them down with sandbags. You can create your own weights with sand and a detergent bottle, just like in the free weights tip. These can be used to hold anything down, such as tarps, tents, or sports nets, or used to add additional weight in your trunk in those tough winter driving months.</p> <h2>11. A Slug Trap</h2> <p>Worms are a gardener&rsquo;s best friends. Slugs, alas, are not. They are a pest that can destroy your plants and vegetables. To make a simple slug trap with a detergent bottle, make a straight cut 2-3 inches from the bottom. Sink this base into the ground, ensuring the rim is level with the soil, and fill with bait (a little beer, or some water and yeast). You can also coat the inside walls of the base with a little liquid soap. The slugs will come in to feed, but cannot get back out.</p> <h2>12. Swimming Floats</h2> <p>This is about as easy at it gets. Clean the detergent bottles thoroughly, removing the labels. Then screw on the tops very tight. You now have cheap and effective floats to help the little ones in the pool.</p> <h2>13. Hand Washing Station</h2> <p>My grandpa, a keen gardener, used to do this with old plastic milk jugs; but it works just as well with detergent bottles. Clean them, fill with water, and leave them on your potting table or in your shed. Place some napkins and liquid soap nearby. When you&rsquo;re ready to come in, you&rsquo;ve got the convenience of a sink without the plumbing.</p> <h2>14. Feed the Birds</h2> <p>Tuppence a bag! Sorry, I love Mary Poppins. I also love birds, and I have a feeding station on the front lawn. You can create a good bird feeder from detergent bottles, and a little green or black spray paint can make them blend right in. First, cut holes in the sides of the jug, around 2-4 inches in diameter. If you want to provide perches, drill holes and push dowel rods through them. Puncture a few small holes in the base for water drainage. Then, hang from a tree or garden pole and fill with seed.</p> <h2>15. Piggy Bank</h2> <p>A penny saved is a penny earned. So don&rsquo;t buy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank">piggy bank</a>, use an old detergent bottle and use the money you saved as your first deposit. Simply clean out your bottle, screw the top on tight, and cut a slot just big enough for the largest coin to fit through. Have the kids paint it if you want, or spray-paint it yourself.</p> <p>You can duct tape the lid onto the bottle to deter people from dipping into the fund. And if you want it to be really tough to open, apply some super glue around the spout and screw on the lid. The only way you can get it open now is to cut it open. When you do, if it&rsquo;s full, you&rsquo;ll have quite the spending spree to go on.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">How to Clean Silver Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners">Breathe Easy: 10 Natural Air Fresheners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living container laundry detergent reusable Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:36:25 +0000 Paul Michael 913220 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5596270338_02d8c34697_z.jpg" alt="aluminum foil" title="aluminum foil" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s said that we live in a disposable society. But the word disposable is a misnomer. Disposable is considered throwaway, something you use once and dump, regardless of the life that may be left in it. As a frugal shopper with a concern for the state of our environment, that just won&rsquo;t do.</p> <p>I often reuse many so-called &ldquo;one-time-use&rdquo; items, and I asked friends, family, and colleagues to tell me which disposable items they squeeze more life from. Here&rsquo;s my list, including some of the surprising ideas I was given. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Butter Wrappers</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re like most people, you unwrap your butter, pop the stick into your handy holder, and throw the wrapper away. But wait a second &mdash; instead of trashing the wrappers, keep them in a sandwich bag. The next time you need to grease a baking tray or dish, you&rsquo;ve got something all ready to go.</p> <h3>2. One-Day Contact Lenses</h3> <p>There have been great advances made in contact lenses. The ones I am wearing right now, for astigmatism, are relatively new. And there are lenses that can last months or just one day. But those one-day lenses have a lot of people thinking about extended use. Can you wear them again? Even just one more day would double their life span and halve your costs every year.</p> <p>Well, it seems that the answer is yes,<em> if</em> you clean them correctly and store them well. Use a bubbling hydrogen peroxide solution, which is designed to remove germs and bacterial matter, and you should be fine using one-day contacts for an additional day or two. The contact lens industry says you are at risk for eye infection if you reuse one-day contacts, but I&rsquo;ve been doing it for two years, and my eyes are just fine. However, if you want further advice on the subject, you'll find several articles on the Internet that have been written on this subject, including the UK's <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-357082/Contact-lens-firms-ripping-off.html">The Daily Mail</a>.</p> <p>However, I think the most telling evidence comes in the legal wording you'll find hidden in <a href="https://www.mycibavision.com/education/docs/durasoft_3_default.pdf">the fine print </a>on every box of one-day contact lenses. It's also printed in dozens of articles at the FDA's site, including <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cts=1331605561774&amp;ved=0CCMQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accessdata.fda.gov%2Fcdrh_docs%2Fpdf%2Fn18033s035.pdf&amp;ei=dq9eT8fpGKXs2QWrxMyCCA&amp;usg=AFQjCNG3bORnnTwAPe2lIqy5TtXWmaPPcw">here</a>, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cts=1331605682769&amp;ved=0CDEQFjAC&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accessdata.fda.gov%2Fcdrh_docs%2Fpdf%2Fk983912.pdf&amp;ei=dq9eT8fpGKXs2QWrxMyCCA&amp;usg=AFQjCNHpxUAH34xyvlWBea830JGe5BQFWw">here</a>, and <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cts=1331605698519&amp;ved=0CCoQFjAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accessdata.fda.gov%2Fcdrh_docs%2Fpdf6%2FK062614.pdf&amp;ei=dq9eT8fpGKXs2QWrxMyCCA&amp;usg=AFQjCNF-M84HdmL3wQDN5LbaXQA7yoV8_A">here</a> (PDFs). It reads thus, and relates to lenses prescribed specifically for daily wear:</p> <blockquote><p>Eye Care Practitioners&nbsp;may prescribe the lenses either for single-use disposable wear or frequent/planned replacement wear with&nbsp;cleaning, disinfection and scheduled replacement (see &quot;Wearing Schedule&quot;). When prescribed for&nbsp;frequent/planned replacement wear, the lenses may be disinfected using a chemical disinfection system.</p> </blockquote> <h3>3. Disposable Film Cameras</h3> <p>35mm film is making a comeback. It was bound to happen. What was once out of style becomes vogue again, and vice-versa. When you buy a cheap disposable film camera, don&rsquo;t hand the whole thing in to the photo department at the store. Strip it, remove the film, and replace it. You can find <a href="http://blog.kamerakevin.com/2009/05/reusing-disposable-cameras.html">complete instructions for dismantling and reassembling</a> on Kevin's Kamera blog.</p> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/camera.jpg" alt="350" /></p> <h3>4. Disposable Digital Cameras</h3> <p>These cameras are a whole different ball game. They are specifically designed to be one-time-use products, so the camera companies can make big money by charging you to download the photos and then reselling the camera to someone else. Well, you can get around that. It&rsquo;s not super easy, but if you have a soldering iron and some patience, you can make that disposable digital camera into a camera you can use again and again, downloading the pictures free at home whenever you want. <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_5790283_reuse-disposable-digital-cameras.html">Complete instructions</a> are available from&nbsp;eHow.</p> <h3>5. Disposable Camcorders</h3> <p>Disposable camcorders are also built to be reused&hellip;just not by the general public. The idea is that you hand them in, your videos are downloaded, and you get them back. But if you want to practice a little hacking at home, you can turn a one-time-use camcorder into a very reusable and handy device. Of course, since the price for the item is higher, the level of difficulty goes up. There are <a href="http://www.i-hacked.com/content/view/182/94/">full instructions</a> at I-Hacked.</p> <h3>6. Plastic &ldquo;Silverware&rdquo;</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve seen plastic knives, forks, and spoons in the dish dryer before. I was a little confused at first &mdash; isn&rsquo;t the whole point to save on doing dishes? But it&rsquo;s possible to get a good week of use from one set of plastic cutlery before recycling it. <a href="http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/should-reuse-plastic-utensils-2539.html ">National Geographic has more on the subject</a>. They do say that after about a week, the cutlery should not be used for sanitary reasons, but even then you can always use it for other tasks, including handy markers for plants. Just write whatever you planted in Sharpie on the handle and plunge it into the soil.</p> <h3>7. Dryer Sheets</h3> <p>They make our clothes smell great, and how do we reward them? With a one-way trip to the dump. Well, dryer sheets should not go straight into the trash. They have many uses. You can put them inside shoes and clothes drawers to keep everything smelling fresh. You can use them to clean the bottom of a dirty iron. And you can run them along baseboards, ceiling fans, and bookcases, just like one of those Swiffer dusters.</p> <h3>8. Plastic Yogurt Containers</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t just bin the yogurt pot when you&rsquo;ve finished with the delicious contents. If you&rsquo;re someone with green fingers, you&rsquo;ll find that yogurt pots are the perfect size for seedling starter pots. You can, of course, buy small seedling pots from a hardware store, but for the same price (or less, actually), you can use yogurt pots and get a healthy snack thrown into the bargain. If you buy the bigger, quart-sized yogurt pots, clean them out and use them to store leftover food, chicken stock, soup, and other perishables.</p> <h3>9. Plastic Bags From Newspapers</h3> <p>The newspaper comes to you in a thin plastic bag to keep it protected from the elements (and it&rsquo;s also another space for advertisers to shout at you). When you bring in the newspaper, the bag goes into the trash. But wait &mdash; if you live in a city that&rsquo;s prone to rain, hold onto those bags. They&rsquo;re small enough to fit in a purse or bag without taking up any room, but make a perfect umbrella bag. When you have to take your wet umbrella indoors, either for work or visiting friends, simply pop it in the bag.</p> <h3>10. Swim Diapers</h3> <p>My first reaction was &ldquo;seriously?!&rdquo; But after talking to a few parents who&rsquo;ve done this, it makes good sense. Unlike regular diapers, swim diapers are made to take much more punishment. They&rsquo;re designed to withhold the water, obviously, so you can put them in the wash two or three times (at least) before they start coming loose at the sides. Of course, don&rsquo;t wash a poopy diaper; that&rsquo;s taking it too far. But if it&rsquo;s just wet, throw it in the washing machine. When it&rsquo;s washed, let it AIR DRY. Otherwise, it will become a hard and crunchy mess. With the average pack of swim diapers costing around $12, you&rsquo;ll rack up the savings in summer.</p> <h3>11. Plastic Takeout Containers</h3> <p>When you order Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Moroccan, or any other takeout cuisine, it will often come in small plastic containers. Give them a good wash and reuse them. They are obviously good for holding leftover food, but they&rsquo;re also great containers for your craft room or workshop. I use them for screws, nuts, bolts, and pencils. Not only are they the perfect size and stackable, but you sometimes also get a whiff of delicious food just before you start your project!</p> <h3>12. Wine Corks</h3> <p>Other than putting it back into the half-full bottle of wine, what use are these corks? You just throw them out, right? Well, not so fast. Wine corks have many other uses. If you chop them up and add them to soil, they make good moisture-retaining mulch. You can scrub high-carbon kitchen knives with them, or protect the blades. You can even soak them in rubbing alcohol and make cheap and effective fire lighters.</p> <h3>13. Tissue Boxes</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s a way to kill two birds with one stone. We all collect plastic grocery bags to use again as trashcan liners and for other shopping trips. Put them inside an empty tissue box &mdash; it keeps them all in one place and makes it easy to retrieve one at a time. Keep one in the car, one at home, one in the basement, and so on.</p> <h3>14. DVD/CD Spindles</h3> <p>With the price of blank DVDs and CDs being so affordable, most of us have a few of these spindle packs at home. But when the last disc is used, the spindle goes bye-bye. Well, it shouldn&rsquo;t have to. You can use it as a handy lunch container for bagel sandwiches. You can turn it upside down and make it into a pen caddy. And wrap computer cables around the spindle before putting on the lid for a very neat and tidy cable organizer.</p> <h3>15. Aluminum Foil</h3> <p>Every American throws away around three pounds of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil">aluminum foil</a> per year. It should all be recycled, but it's not. However, it can be reused very easily. It&rsquo;s durable, so a quick wash with a kitchen sponge and some soap and water will get it back to life. Just dry it flat, and fold it up. Or fold it several times and cut with scissors &mdash; it will really sharpen them up. You can also use it as a paint texture applicator, and you can restore the sheen to steel and chrome by rubbing the metal with foil.</p> <h3>16. Ziploc Bags</h3> <p>It bugs me at how wasteful we are as a society. Ziploc bags are a prime example. They are sturdy enough to be used many times &mdash; often a quick rinse with some hot water and a little soap is enough to make them as good as new, but we throw them out. Well, here are some ideas for Ziploc bags after their first use as a humble sandwich bag or food container:</p> <ul> <li>Store pantyhose in them, with a corner of the packaging. It will help you keep them separate in the drawer and identify colors.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use them as a piping bag. Just snip the corner.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make your own inflatable packaging &mdash; just insert a straw into the corner, blow, and seal, and you&rsquo;ve got cheap packing material.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fill with crushed ice for a quick cold compress.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Break up graham crackers inside a Ziploc bag. No mess.<b><br /> </b></li> </ul> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/pulltabnecklace.jpg" alt="350" /></p> <h3>17. Soda Can Pull Tabs</h3> <p>This one is a direct result of finding a box of soda can pull tabs in our &ldquo;junk drawer.&rdquo; I was puzzled. At first I figured they were being collected for my daughter&rsquo;s school, like those box tops for education. Nope. Turns out, you can make some very beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry out of them, as well as purses, handbags, and even lampshades! Not convinced? Check out this collection of <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?ref=auto&amp;q=soda+can+tab&amp;view_type=gallery&amp;ship_to=US">soda can pull tab jewelry at Etsy.com</a> for inspiration.</p> <h3>18. Cardboard Egg Cartons</h3> <p>Let eggs bring you peace. Those egg containers made of the cheap, recycled paper are great for soundproofing a room. They don&rsquo;t look too pretty, but if you have want to make a room quiet, staple these to the walls. Their design is perfect for absorbing sound waves. You can be creative, painting them different colors and soundproofing a kid's playroom or a workshop. You can also use these same egg cartons as fire lighters, so pack a few for your next camping trip. And finally, they make good containers for things like hair ties or small office supplies (paper clips, brads, elastic bands, and so on).</p> <h3>19. Laundry Detergent Caps</h3> <p>When your bottle of detergent is empty (and I mean <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Get-that-last-load-from-a-bottle-of-detergent!/ ">really empty</a>), don&rsquo;t just throw it in the recycle bin. The cap is a great scoop for pet food, ice melt, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/really-great-uses-for-kitty-litter">cat litter</a>, or even as a play toy in the kids&rsquo; sandbox.</p> <h3>20. Baby Bottle Nipples</h3> <p>I could write a whole book on the waste that comes from the medical industry. It&rsquo;s amazing how much could be reused that &ldquo;cannot&rdquo; due to strict regulations. One such example is nipples for baby bottles. When you have a baby and feed him/her in hospital with formula, they will put a new nipple on the bottle each time and throw the old one away. They have to. Don&rsquo;t let them trash it though. It&rsquo;s yours, paid for through your insurance, so take them home with you. They&rsquo;re nothing fancy, but they are definitely good backups and can be sterilized and reused several times.</p> <h3>21. Spice Mills</h3> <p>The spice racks in supermarkets have a lot of these &ldquo;one-time-use&rdquo; mills, filled with peppercorns, salt, and other spices. The idea is that you buy one, grind away, and chuck the whole thing when it&rsquo;s empty. But there&rsquo;s no need to trash a functioning mill, especially as you can refill it for pennies with bulk spices. Of course, the spice mill has been designed to prevent refilling, but there&rsquo;s an easy way around it. Instructables has instructions for <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Reuse-a-disposable-spice-mill/?ALLSTEPS">reusing spice mills</a>.</p> <h3>22. Toilet Paper</h3> <p>The great thing about used toilet paper is&hellip;nah, not really &mdash; just a little fun to end the article.</p> <p>So, that&rsquo;s my list, but it&rsquo;s by no means complete. Think of it as a good start. Now, what do you reuse that most people put straight into the garbage? Do you have some shocking or crazy suggestions? Let us know.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks one time use reduce reuse recycle reducing trash reusable Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:36:30 +0000 Paul Michael 910194 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Throwing Away Cash With Disposable Cleaning Products? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-throwing-away-cash-with-disposable-cleaning-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-throwing-away-cash-with-disposable-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4505231320_cdf26bfe2f_z.jpg" alt="boy using paper towel" title="boy using paper towel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just a few generations back, the formula for a spiffy house contained two simple elements at its core: a high stack of rags and plentiful elbow grease. Then came specialized cleaners (window cleaners, oven cleaners, furniture polish, etc.) and a newfangled wave of disposable cleaning aids, led of course by the ubiquitous paper towel.</p> <p>No doubt that paper towels are convenient, especially when there's a puddle of freshly spilled grape juice about to hit the floor. But that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-convenience-is-screwing-your-finances">convenience has its costs</a>, both to the environment and your wallet. In the U.S., <em>paper towels alone make up 2% of all landfill space</em>. And if you pay $10 for an 8-roll pack that lasts two weeks, you'll spend $260 a year, when cloth wipes could've done the same job for just pennies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>This article examines some of the most popular disposable cleaning products, and what they'll cost you over the course of a year, along with far less expensive, more eco-friendly alternatives. (Note that yearly projections for disposable products do not include tax.)</p> <h2>Mr. Clean Magic Eraser</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Clean-Original-Eraser-4-Count/dp/B0033WSV8A">Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 24-Pack</a>: $26.15 with free shipping via Subscribe &amp; Save, a low by $17</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> It's a soft pad that acts like an eraser to clean dirt and grime, and remove scuff marks and dirt from floors, walls, and doors.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Usage varies greatly depending on the intensity of the task (cleaning a tub can use three erasers, while a single eraser can last a while with just gentle wiping), but we'll hit middle ground and say you could go through two boxes in a year across all tasks for a total of <strong>$52.30</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> Parents of toddlers swear by the Magic Eraser for its ability to <em>erase</em> crayon marks, but you can always think preemptively and supply your little Picasso with washable crayons for artwork at home. What's more, baking soda on a wet cloth works incredibly well in removing dirt and scuffs.</p> <h2>Proctor &amp; Gamble Swiffer Dry Cloths</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Swiffer-Sweeper-Sweeping-16-Count-Packaging/dp/B0035G0740">Swiffer Dry Cloths 16-Count 12-Pack</a>: $45.43 with free shipping, a low by $1</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> Used in conjunction with a Swiffer Sweeper, these cloths trap dirt, dust, and hair from floors and hard-to-reach surfaces. P&amp;G claims a Swiffer cloth &quot;leaves your floors up to three times cleaner than a broom.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> If you use four pads a week every week, you can survive the year with just the bundled pack above for <strong>$45.43</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> No doubt Swiffer dry cloths work well, and putting them on the end of a Swiffer mop helps you get at places where dust bunnies like to nest. But did you know you can make your own reusable, washable Swiffer pad from a towel and some string (or ribbon, if you so choose)? That's what Stephanie Nelson did, writing in <a href="http://www.herbcompanion.com/herbal-living/naturally-clean-make-your-own-washable-swiffer.aspx">The Herb Companion</a>. She also supplies a recipe for herbal floor cleaner!</p> <h2>Clorox Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Clorox-Disinfecting-Wipes-3-Pack-75-ct/14898365">Clorox Disinfecting Wipe 75-Count 3-Pack</a>: $9.97 with 97-cent s/h, a low by $3</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> Used for disinfecting surfaces, these wipes are very helpful when cleaning everything from kitchen appliances to finished wood.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Assuming a 3-pack will last you three months, you'll spend <strong>$43.76</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> While many elementary schools love it when kids bring in disinfecting wipes as part of their supplies, their labels clearly state &quot;Keep out of reach of children. Hazards to humans and domestic animals.&quot; You can <a href="http://www.liverenewed.com/2009/09/homemade-clorox-wipes.html">make your own wipes easily</a>, using cut-up squares of cloth placed into an resealable container (like a baby-wipe container). Then pour a simple solution of castile soap, tea tree oil, and white <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">vinegar</a> over the cloths.</p> <h2>Clorox ToiletWand</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disinfecting-Value-Size-20-Ct-Toilet-Wand-Refills/14664731">ToiletWand 20-Count Refill Pack</a>: $7.98 with 97-cent s/h, a low by $6</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> The disposable swivel head of the ToiletWand is doused in Clorox cleaner and is designed to get into hard-to-reach places of your toilet.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Assuming a refill pack lasts three months, you'll spend <strong>$35.80</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> Let's face it: No one likes to clean a toilet. Anything that makes the job less messy and quicker is welcome, right? But a long-handled toilet brush should work just as well, doused in plenty of &mdash; yup &mdash; vinegar. Domestic diva <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/272532/diy-toilet-bowl-cleaner">Martha Stewart recommends as much</a>.</p> <h2>Endust for Electronics: LCD &amp; Plasma Wipes</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="http://www.frys.com/product/5975074">LCD &amp; Plasma Wipes 70-Count Canister</a>: $6.99 with $3.99 s/h, a low by $1</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> Remove dust and fingerprints on LCD and plasma screens. Clean your laptop, desktop monitor, HDTV, touchscreens, and more.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Even with the numerous devices we all carry around in our lives, you could probably safely get through a year with a single canister at <strong>$10.98</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> You don't want to use alcohol- or ammonia-based products to clean your screen, but instead of using Endust, a soft cotton cloth dampened with a little white distilled vinegar does a comparable job. Using white distilled vinegar is safe, highly effective, and very inexpensive. And though this alternative may not save you a bundle, it'll certainly do more to help reduce waste.</p> <h2>Cleanup Time</h2> <p>In the end, deciding which disposable cleaning products we use often boils down to utility. The ease of wielding a toilet wand, for example, may trump all other considerations, especially if you're squeamish about washing out a dirty brush. But there's cost to consider, and that cuts both ways. The more you spend on disposable cleaning products, the more a toll you'll take on your household budget and the planet's ecosystem.</p> <p>By our very conservative estimates, you'd save about $188.27 by skipping the above goods &mdash; and there are still numerous other disposable cleaning products that people include in their routine, like wet Swiffer pads in addition to the dry. And while that money might seem like chump change for a year, consider how far it could have gone to buy <a href="http://dealnews.com/features/Eat-and-Sleep-Well-with-5-Kitchen-and-Bedroom-Deals-From-Plates-to-Pillows/549977.html?eref=wisebread">other things for the home</a>, especially if you <a href="http://dealnews.com/editors-choice.html?eref=wisebread">shop frugally</a> in other areas as well. So while disposable products are here to stay, think carefully about which ones you use, and do your best to consume them sparingly.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a title="dealnews" href="http://dealnews.com/">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sure, use-it-and-trash-it cleaning products are convenient. But how much they cost might shock you. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-throwing-away-cash-with-disposable-cleaning-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">You&#039;re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning supplies green cleaning products reusable Wed, 29 Feb 2012 10:48:33 +0000 Dealnews 904213 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap, Handmade Gift Wrapping Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-179508239.jpg" alt="gift" title="gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve noticed that people spend a fortune on wrapping and embellishing holiday gifts. And for what? Football fields full of shiny bows and acres of that gorgeous paper just get wadded up and tossed in the trash (unless you&rsquo;re my grandmother, and then the bows get saved for next year). What are some simpler, more cost-effective and earth-friendly ways to present a stunningly wrapped gift without all the waste? Here are some ideas. </p> <h2>1. Go Natural</h2> <p>Lying outside under my five pine trees at this very moment are no less than 100 pine cones. I kid you not. Combine with some crisp brown shipping paper, twine, and a sprig of cut evergreen, and you have an elegantly wrapped gift. If you don&rsquo;t have access to pine cones, try pressed leaves, shells, or dried flowers.</p> <h2>2. Twine and Raffia</h2> <p>For a simple, natural, and elegant look, tie your wrapped gifts with twine or raffia. Both go best with solid-color matte wrapping paper. Since they&rsquo;re completely natural products, they&rsquo;re biodegradable.</p> <h2>3. Shipping Paper</h2> <p>Humble brown shipping paper is my favorite choice for gift wrap. It&rsquo;s the perfect blank canvas for creating a little drama with natural bows and other creative and unexpected wrapping ideas.</p> <h2>4. Old Photographs</h2> <p>Old family photos or black-and-white antique photos of nature scenes set in photo-mounting corners on a gift or tied with twine make an artful bow replacement. Keep an eye out for them at yard sales or flea markets all year long, and you&rsquo;ll have more than you need when the holidays hit.</p> <h2>5. Vintage Postcards</h2> <p>Vintage postcards or the fronts of antique holiday cards are great ways to embellish gifts with or without a bow. Use that standard brown paper, or let the color pallet of the card dictate your paper color. Matte-green paper with green raffia and an antique Christmas card in various shades of green creates a stunning presentation.</p> <h2>6. Plain Paper Bags</h2> <p>Plain paper lunch bags work especially well if you&rsquo;re wrapping gifts for kids or getting kids involved in the gift-giving. Let them decorate the bags with markers, acrylic paint, or collages.</p> <h2>7. Make Your Gift Part of the Wrapping</h2> <p>Depending on the gift you&rsquo;re giving, replace the bow with part of the gift itself. Use twine or raffia to securely tie a piece of wrapped chocolate or a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards">gift card</a> to your main gift.</p> <h2>8. Vintage Ornaments</h2> <p>Vintage tree ornaments can become &ldquo;bows&rdquo; when artfully tied with ribbon or raffia. Pick up orphaned ornaments at yard sales or thrift stores for an economical way to embellish your gifts.</p> <h2>9. Custom Tags</h2> <p>Recycle old greeting cards or card stock for customized holiday gift tags. A bit of calligraphy, drawing, or water-color design adds a handmade touch.</p> <h2>10. Wallpaper Remnants</h2> <p>Vintage wallpaper (especially toile designs) is perfect for holiday gift wrapping. It&rsquo;s a bit thicker, but it folds nicely and has a classic tailored look.</p> <p>See? Wrapping gifts doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive or routine. With a little ingenuity and some creative effort, your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">gifts</a> will not only look amazing, but you&rsquo;ll also spend less money too.</p> <p><em>What are some ways that you let out your inner Martha Stewart when it comes to wrapping gifts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products">50 Amazing, Easy DIY Bath and Body Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash">10 Fun Ways to Wrap the Gift of Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank">How to Make a Piggy Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w">Dreaming of a Frugal Christmas: 6 Things You Can Make That People on Your List Will Use and Want</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY gift wrapping gifts reusable Fri, 25 Nov 2011 11:36:32 +0000 Kentin Waits 793192 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Paths to a Greener Back-to-School Season http://www.wisebread.com/6-paths-to-a-greener-back-to-school-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-paths-to-a-greener-back-to-school-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/schoolkids2.jpg" alt="Schoolkids" title="Schoolkids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Adding an eco-friendly focus to the back-to-school season can be a great way to teach kids about sustainability, and parents don't have to part with a bunch of green in order to be green. The key is finding simple, cost-effective ways to introduce environmentally conscious approaches and items. Here are a few options to consider. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-at-the-same-time" title="10 Ways to Go Green and Save Money at the Same Time">10 Ways to Go Green and Save Money at the Same Time</a>)</p> <h2>1. Scrounge for Leftovers</h2> <p>Just because a binder or folder got used last year doesn't mean it's out of commission. Check your household inventory and make use of what's left. You may be surprised to find some unopened packs of pens, pencils, or paper. Also, put those excess rulers, calculators, and pharmaceutical pens to good use. After taking stock of what you already have, you'll be able to make a list of anything you still need.</p> <h2>2. Check the Closet</h2> <p>Go through the closet with your kids and make two piles: what fits and what doesn't fit. If you know other parents, try to organize a clothing swap. Otherwise, donate the stuff that doesn't fit. Don't feel obligated to buy brand new clothing, either. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-criteria-for-thrift-store-clothes-shopping" title="thrift store clothes shopping">Thrift stores</a> and garage sales always have a bundle of gently used, fashionable clothes. This goes for students of all ages.</p> <h2>3. Buy Recycled</h2> <p>It's become easier to purchase recycled school supplies, backpacks, and clothing, even from big box stores. Recycled and chlorine-free paper notebooks are a favorite. You can also purchase pencils made from recycled wood, which ensures new trees aren't felled. Natural fiber backpacks have become more popular. Some retailers, like REI, have rolled out entire clothing and supply lines with an environmental bent. It won't be long before <a href="http://www.grassrootsstore.com/5_Corn_Plastic_Scissors_p/15219.htm" title="corn plastic scissors">corn-plastic scissors</a> are all the rage.</p> <h2>4. Buy Reusable</h2> <p>Paper products clog landfills nationwide, comprising about 40% of all waste. Getting a sturdy, insulated reusable lunch box or lunch bag can help curb the problem and eliminate the need for paper bags every week. Consider going a step further and giving your child a set of cheap silverware and a cloth napkin. You can also pick up a BPA-free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles" title="The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles">water bottle</a> and cut down on the need for water bottles, non-recycled milk cartons, and trips to the school water fountain.</p> <h2>5. Opt for E-Books</h2> <p>It isn't always possible, but opt for an electronic version of a book when you can. Some textbook publishers are beginning to beef up their e-books, although college students are still at the mercy of their professors.</p> <h2>6. Transportation</h2> <p>Walking or biking to school, so long as it's a safe option, can have a significant impact on sustainability. But taking the school bus is certainly preferred over a solo trip to drop off a child at school.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-paths-to-a-greener-back-to-school-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">12 Ways to Cut Down on Garbage and Save Money Too!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-not-too-late-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">It&#039;s Not Too Late to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-back-to-back-to-school">Wise Bread Reloaded: Back to Back to School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-school-supplies-without-going-crazy">How to Save on School Supplies Without Going Crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/packing-it-in-the-independent-of-london-issues-a-challenge">Packing it in - The Independent of London issues a challenge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Green Living Shopping back to school recycling reusable school supplies Mon, 22 Aug 2011 09:48:15 +0000 Chris Birk 666833 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/water_bottle.jpg" alt="Man holding reusable water bottle" title="Man holding reusable water bottle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been a tap drinker &mdash; it&rsquo;s refreshing, healthy, and free &mdash; but when some genius started putting H2O in plastic containers and selling it for a dollar a pop, Americans went nuts. Water? In a bottle?! As popular as it became, you&rsquo;d think they were filled at the Fountain of Youth. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-uses-for-empty-plastic-bottles">The Many Uses for Empty Plastic Bottles</a>)</p> <p>Some quick facts:</p> <ul> <li>The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water_in_the_United_States">U.S. is the largest consumer of bottled water</a> in the world.</li> <li>As a nation, <a href="http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/npr-bottled-water-sales-flatten">we spent more than $11 billion on bottled water</a> last year.</li> <li><a href="http://www.watertechonline.com/bottled-water/article/us-bottled-water-consumption-increased-35-percent-in-2010">Bottled water accounts for 30%</a> of the total liquid refreshments marketplace.</li> <li><a href="http://www.bottledwater.org/news/us-bottled-water-volume-grew-35-2010-economic-conditions-begin-improve">Americans drank, on average, 28.3 gallons</a> of bottled water per person last year.</li> </ul> <p>What those numbers equal is a whole lot of waste. Which is insane, right? Am I the only one who knows that water &mdash; safe, tasty water &mdash; is available direct from nearly every faucet in the country?</p> <p>The problem is, we&rsquo;re just too lazy to turn on our sinks and fill up a reusable bottle. Because if we did that, it might mean we have to wash it every now and then &mdash; and, well, that&rsquo;s just not worth the effort, right?&nbsp;</p> <p>With this post, I hope to change that attitude. I&rsquo;ve chosen seven reusable, affordable, eco-friendly (all BPA-free) bottles to rate. Because they each have different features, I&rsquo;ve established four categories on which to judge the bottles &mdash; style, design, price, and versatility. Which bottle is best for you? Find out below.</p> <h2>Bobble (550 ml; $9.95)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="335" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u931/Bobble.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>There&rsquo;s a level of simplicity to the <a href="http://www.waterbobble.com">Bobble</a> that makes it fashionable. The bottle itself is clear plastic with a solid-colored, changeable in-cap filter. The cap is available in an array of colors.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>Out of all of the bottles, this is the most thoughtfully designed. Its hourglass shape makes gripping easy and comfortable. The cap closes tight, as does the sipping nozzle. The Bobble comes with an additional cap to place over the sipping nozzle to prevent leakage.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>The initial purchase is affordable, but when you consider replacement filters, the purchase, over time, isn&rsquo;t a value. Each filter, however, lasts for 300 refills.</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>Not much. Because it&rsquo;s equipped with a built-in filter, it&rsquo;s only good for water.</p> <h2>S&rsquo;well (17 oz; $35)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/swell.jpg" alt="Swell" /><a href="http://swellbottle.com/"><br /> </a></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>Soda drinkers may like the <a href="http://swellbottle.com/">S&rsquo;well</a> because of its resemblance to pop-style bottles. The shiny, brushed steel exterior comes in seven glossy colors, each one printed with the company&rsquo;s motto &mdash; &ldquo;Healthy Helpful Happy&rdquo; &mdash; up the side. Ten percent of net sales goes to WaterAid, which supports programs improving access to safe water, hygiene, and sanitation in the world&rsquo;s poorest communities.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>This bottle is fairly tall &mdash; taller than any of the others featured here &mdash; which may prove cumbersome, depending on your activity. Upon inspection, it seems to be well-made with quality materials.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>Quite steep at $35. There are similar-quality bottles available at lower costs.</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>Because S&rsquo;well is insulated, it can be used for hot or cold beverages. If the mouth wasn&rsquo;t so narrow, the bottle&rsquo;s function could also include hot soups, but anything chunky would likely get stuck.</p> <h2>Sip N&rsquo; Go (500 ml; $7.99)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="508" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u931/SipNGo.jpg" /></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>With its sporty aesthetic, the name says it all; the <a href="http://www.buysipngo.com/">Sip N' Go</a> bottle &mdash; though more like a bag &mdash; is great for those who identify as athletic. Colors include pink and blue.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>When empty, the bottle lays flat or can be folded, and there&rsquo;s a snap to keep the folded bag in place. When filled, the bottle will stand on its own. The cap is a standard water-bottle cap that holds tight. There&rsquo;s also a sipping nozzle cap to prevent leakage. A carabiner is attached for convenient clipping. On the backside is a dedicated space to write the owner&rsquo;s name.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>Considering all its features, the price is a steal.</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>Bottle can be frozen to use as an ice pack to keep lunches chilled.</p> <h2>Aquasana (18 oz; $26.99 for 6)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u931/Aquasana.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>Sleek and slender, <a href="http://www.aquasana.com/category.php?category_id=8">Aquasana</a> glass water bottles are more for home use than travel, but their colorful caps add pizzazz to the fridge.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>The bottles have a clean, modern feel even if the design isn&rsquo;t particularly inspired.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>For a nice glass bottle, the price is right. Just be cautious; these are meant to be paired with the Auqasana drinking-water filtration system. You can splurge on that if you want, but if you already have a filtration system on your faucet, stick with that. Using that method, you may be able to save even more money in the long run by chucking the Brita pitcher you have in the fridge. Does your water really need to be filtered twice?</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>When it&rsquo;s not in the fridge, it works great as a bedside carafe.</p> <h2>Vapur (.5 L; $9.99)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="351" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Vapur.jpg" alt="" /><a href="http://vapur.us"><br /> </a></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>The concept here is the same as Sip N&rsquo; Go &mdash; a bottle that&rsquo;s really a bag. But <a href="http://vapur.us">Vapur</a> gets more style points. The six available colors are vibrant, and the graphics are simple yet chic.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>All that applies for Sip N&rsquo; Go applies here, too: Vapur folds when empty, stands erect when filled, and there&rsquo;s a carabiner attached for clipping. There&rsquo;s also a space to write the owner&rsquo;s name on the back. What it lacks &mdash; and this is an important design element &mdash; is the snap to keep the bag folded when empty.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>Is the extra $2 worth Vapur&rsquo;s style over Sip N&rsquo; Go&rsquo;s added function? I think so.</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>Bottle can be frozen to use as an ice pack to keep lunches chilled.</p> <h2>Klean Kanteen Insulated (16 oz; $25.95 &ndash; $29.95)</h2> <p><img width="250" height="500" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u931/KleanKanteen.jpg" /></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing extraordinary about the <a href="http://www.greenfeet.com/itemmatrix.asp?kw=Klean-Kanteen-Wide-Mouth-40-Ounce&amp;ic=8502-06600-4000&amp;matrixtype=2">Klean Kanteen</a>&rsquo;s appearance. It looks like your average, everyday Thermos. Its selection of colors are muted, though, making it decidedly more masculine than the other bottle options.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>What this bottle lacks in style it makes up in design. The vacuum-insulated version is double-walled to keep beverages and food hot for up to 6 hours and cold for 24 hours. Notice I said food? Unlike the insulated S&rsquo;well bottle, Klean Kanteen has a wide mouth that will accommodate a spoon, so you can fill it with whatever your tummy desires. Several different caps also are available, depending how you plan to use the bottle.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>At $29.95 for the two-cap combo (loop cap and café cap), it blows S&rsquo;well out of the water.</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>Perfect for cold and hot drinks, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee">coffee</a>, and foods, such as soup.</p> <h2>Flip N' Sip Nature (600 ml; $11.99)</h2> <p><img width="200" height="555" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u931/NewWaveEnviro.jpg" /></p> <h4>Style</h4> <p>Animal lovers will be drawn to the stainless-steel <a href="http://www.newwaveenviro.com">Flip N&rsquo; Sip Nature</a> bottle, which is printed with a panda bear noshing on bamboo. A portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold will benefit Pandas International.</p> <h4>Design</h4> <p>Stainless steel is a nice touch, but the cap is problematic. It tucks away to prevent leakage, but when it&rsquo;s time to drink, the bridge of your nose will hit the integrated handle. Seems unnecessary.</p> <h4>Price</h4> <p>For about $12 it's not a bad bottle, but when you compare the price to other, more versatile bottles, this is kind of a waste. At least it helps the pandas.</p> <h4>Versatility</h4> <p>Just a bottle for liquid beverages.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living bottled water drinking water reusable Thu, 30 Jun 2011 10:37:28 +0000 Mikey Rox 601430 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make a Piggy Bank http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2301500208_7136f3fa7d.jpg" alt="kitty coin jar" title="kitty coin jar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm normally a debit swiping, credit-card carrying shopper who rarely makes cash purchases. However, this year I'm using cash a little more than usual which equates to coins rolling around the bottom of my purse, backpack, car, and pockets. Since I don't like being weighed down by these precious metals or the idea of losing them, I've started saving all of my loose change in a do-it-yourself piggy bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change</a>)</p> <p>I must say I love watching my coins multiply. Not only is it motivating to watch the piggy bank fill up, it's relaxing to actually dump out the coin bank and count how much I've accumulated, which then ends up getting rolled up and hidden away toward my camping trip fund. Here are several ideas on making your own piggy bank.</p> <h3>Easy, Simple Banks</h3> <p>Grab a container from around your house and put a slit in it.</p> <p><strong>Glass Mason Jars</strong></p> <p>It's no wonder glass <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/multiplicity-of-uses-for-a-mason-jar">Mason jars</a> have been in existence for 125 years &mdash; they serve various functions from canning to drinking glasses to storage containers. I chose a large Mason jar for my own piggy bank because it was so easy to use. All I had to do is cut a small slit through the top large enough for quarters to slide through. Since it's glass I can also see how much I've accumulated without dumping out the entire jar. It's a great piggy bank for children to use as well since they can practice estimating what they see, then follow up by counting the actual amount. The only precaution I'd add is that it is glass, and though thick, it could still easily break if dropped. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">Sanity Saving Ideas for Canning Jars</a>)</p> <p><img height="544" width="500" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/IMG_2458_0.JPG" /></p> <p><strong>5-Gallon Jugs</strong></p> <p>If you use cash quite often and end up with tons of coins, a 3- or 5-gallon jug might be another option for storing that money. These reusable water jugs come in plastic or glass, so depending on if you have someone strong enough to lift a filled jug, it could be quite motivating watching the amount grow. I can usually save about $50 in my small Mason jar before I need to empty it. I would imagine that a filled 3- or 5-gallon jug could hold close to 10-times that amount!</p> <p><strong>Tin Cans</strong></p> <p>Any tin can with a plastic lid can be turned into a piggy bank within seconds: coffee cans, baby formula cans, or Pringle's cans. The only disadvantage is that you can't see the accumulation of coins from the outside. However, this could be beneficial if you find yourself raiding your coin collection every now and then; the out of sight, out of mind mentality definitely reduces temptation. Using one of these can-banks with children can teach them estimation skills based on weight; they can guess how much is in the can based on how heavy it is, then count the amount to see how close they were.</p> <h3>Fun, Creative Banks</h3> <p>Want to add a little fun to your homemade piggy bank? Get out your scissors, glue, and googly eyes.</p> <p><strong>From Milk Jug to Animal Bank</strong></p> <p>Maybe it's because I've taught elementary school for many years, but give me an empty milk jug, some construction paper, felt-tip markers, and googly eyes and almost any item can be turned into an animal of sorts. Turn an empty, cleaned out, plastic milk jug on its side (handle up) and cut a slit under the handle large enough to slip a quarter through. Next, decorate the cap for the nose and glue on some googly eyes and pom-poms for decoration. Finally, using a paper towel or toilet paper tube, cut four 2&quot; sections and glue on the bottom of the milk jug for feet. When the jug is filled with coins, you can cut open your &quot;piggy&quot; bank or empty it through the cap.</p> <p><strong>Half Gallon Carton to Skyscraper Coin Collector</strong></p> <p>If you don't happen to purchase drinks in plastic gallon container, a half gallon carton can serve as a coin collector as well. Rinse out the carton and let it dry. Use construction paper, crayon, and markers to decorate windows, doors, bricks, etc. Using white glue, like Elmer's, glue the construction paper on the outside of the container, including the top part where the tops form a triangle. Cut a slit for coins at the top, or if it has a screw on lid, most coins will fit through that opening. The carton shape can be decorated into any creation, from building, to rocket, to cell phone; it can be a fun way to teach saving and reinforce counting money.</p> <p><strong>Soda Can/Coin Jar Sculpture</strong></p> <p>If you're really creative and love finding ways to reuse soda cans, consider creating a soda can sculpture using fishing line or wire hangers that can collect your spare change. Just be sure to cut a larger opening at the top and make sure little fingers don't get too close to any sharp edges. Turning the severed edges in toward the inside of the can will help minimize jagged edges. Once the &quot;sculpture&quot; is full, you can cut off the tops of the cans to empty and then recycle.</p> <p>These are just a few ways to reuse everyday items and help create a small rainy-day savings fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas">10 Cheap, Handmade Gift Wrapping Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY mason jars piggy banks recycle reusable Thu, 31 Mar 2011 10:36:08 +0000 Little House 509354 at http://www.wisebread.com